By Ian Consoli
In 2020, we built an on-site storage facility to house the wines we make available in the tasting room, our exports, and our vast library to update our vintage chart, host events, and fill our Collector's Wine Club shipments. This building has many benefits, from access to our wines to, most importantly, a decrease in our winery's carbon footprint compared to off-site storage. This building also created a need for a logistics manager at Tablas Creek. Enter Eddie Garcia.
Eddie is awesome. He is an absolute pro at organization, communication, and the many other functions of a successful logistics manager. He also happens to co-manage the Tablas Creek Fantasy Football team in the Paso Wine League with me. Finally, a communication outlet for my 17 weeks of obsession!
I learned that he's even more than that in my interview with him. Eddie embodies a common thread I find when talking with anyone who works at Tablas Creek: passion. There's a passion for wine, food, and our impacts on the planet. Importantly and uniquely, I also find a passion for each individual's position within the company. There are positions where passion seems a given; winemaking and viticulture come to mind, but logistics? Yes, even logistics. Eddie's dedication to his job emanates from him as soon as he broaches the topic. He embodies the Tablas Creek ethos to exist in humility and choose actions based on the betterment of the system. It takes a special kind of logistics manager to keep everything running at a business like Tablas Creek. Eddie is that person. I can't wait for you to meet him.
Who are you?
My name is Eddie. I am the Logistics Manager here at Tablas Creek.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Glendale, CA, and grew up in North Hollywood until we moved to Templeton in 1994. It's been a real blessing to be up here, and I don't envision ever wanting to move out of our area. It's everything you want. I mean, beach, mountains, camping. I'm good.
What's your family like?
My family is pretty big. I have three sisters and my mom; we are scattered across the United States. I have two boys, Ryan, who is 14, and Frankie, who is 7.
How do you spend your free time?
It all depends on what day of the week it is. When I have my kids, I’m all about being Dad. Playing games on the switch, jujitsu practices or enjoying soccer Saturdays. When it’s no kids, it’s enjoying trips to do tastings at wineries I’ve never been, seeing concerts at our local venues, and even catching up on watching TV series I’ve never seen. Right now, I’m watching The Sopranos and I’m hooked!
What professional experience did you have before coming to Tablas Creek?
Most recently, I was with Broken Earth Winery for about three years, working the warehouse and managing logistics. Before that, I was at Firestone Walker for seven years, which got me into the beverage industry. Seeing the logistics, production, and craft brewery scene was a real eye-opener. I worked for other beverage distributors in the area too. I worked for Pacific Beverage in Santa Margarita and Allied, the local Coors distributor in Santa Maria. It's interesting because I never envisioned wine and beer would be the way my career would go, but it's been really rewarding. I feel situated and understand I could carry into my golden years hanging out with wine as a career.
How would you describe your job at Tablas Creek, and what does your day-to-day look like?
I see the logistics position as the spinal cord of any company because we're everywhere. I do wine club. I do exports. I handle DTC as far as in the tasting room and online fulfillment. So logistics is like the spinal cord, which is the body's nervous system, right? It is how the brain communicates to our hands and legs and everything else that gets things moving. That's what logistics does. So when the general manager, tasting room manager, direct to consumer team, or whoever feeds me information, I get the wine, fulfill the order, and do what I need to do to keep the process moving.
I was originally hired to be half facilities and half logistics, but the logistics part of the job is so demanding that we had to change it up. Advanced logistics is not only accommodating the current needs of the business; it's saying, what else do you need? You always want to expand it and grow. And in the past year or so, I feel I've been able to do that.
How did you hear about the role at Tablas?
I heard about the position from our former Assistant Controller, Pam Horton. I had previously interviewed with her when she worked at Hearst Ranch. They went a different direction, but there's always a silver lining. I remember thinking something else is going to happen down the road. A little shy of a year later, Pam, who had started working at Tablas Creek, found me one night when I was working part-time at Food 4 Less and asked if I was still looking for a job. She told me to put in a resume for the logistics position. I was a bit hesitant because it was in the middle of the pandemic; I stopped looking for jobs and focused on stability. She really got the ball rolling for me. I thank her for the opportunity and for bringing me here.
Did you know about Tablas Creek before your interview?
Yes. I am a part-time limo driver, which gives me a feel of the different wineries in the area. So I've been to Tablas and met [Tasting Room Manager] John a couple of times on the driver's side. I knew this place was here but never knew the story. Since working here, I have enjoyed learning about Robert Haas, the Perrin family, and their footprint on the Paso Robles wine industry. When you're driving people, you're just dropping them off. So now, finally understanding who we are and what we are about is awesome. I love talking about what I do and who I work for.
How do you like the job so far?
I love it. Kind of reiterating what I said earlier, I took this position and made it into something that wasn't envisioned at first, and I'm hoping that I can add on more. So, I love what I do here at Tablas.
What at Tablas Creek are you most excited about going forward?
Expanding on the new regenerative organic certification. I think we will be the torch bearers of establishing responsible farming and viticultural practices in our area. It's like Firestone Brewery, which started at one corner building, and now they have that whole cul-de-sac. That expansion took somebody with a vision, and I feel like we can do that with responsible farming. I'm excited because we're leading the charge to change the way people think about wine and the winemaking process.
What are you excited about concerning the future of the logistics department?
The opportunities the opening of our new on-site storage building brings. We're keeping more of the product here versus sending it out to third-party storage. And by us doing that, we're able to monitor and control the situation. We know where our wines are being stored, how they're being stored, and where we can go to clarify the situation if there is an issue. We're able to find different ways to reduce our carbon footprint. I know that's a big thing for us, whether it be direct to consumer or shipping to our distributor houses. We can make sure their trucks are leaving full, not sending half, not sending partials or one pallet here, one pallet there, and the wine's not being moved three or four times.
Do you drink wine?
When and how did you get into wine?
I started getting into wine when driving limousines and getting feedback from my clients. I didn't have a reason to go wine tasting before, but talking to my clients got me involved, and then employment in wine sealed that interest. Working for Broken Earth gave me access to industry tastings. Now I work for Tablas. That's how I started getting into wine, and now I don't really drink craft beer anymore. It's like a complete 180. I'd rather have a nice bottle at night. Wine is a staple to a great meal or even just the ability to unwind after a long day.
What's the best wine you've ever had?
The 2014 dry-farmed Cabernet from Ventoux in Templeton. Phenomenal. Anything they do out there is really good. My second favorite wine would be their 2017 Tache Le Verre, a Santa Barbara County Syrah. So jammy, the legs on the glass were amazing. Those are my two, and I can tell you the vintage, the bottle, the varietals. Great wines.
Who is your #1 overall pick in fantasy football next year?
As of right now, it’s Jonathan Taylor.
Would you rather:
Cake or pie?
Fly or breathe underwater?
I'd rather fly. Breathing underwater makes me feel claustrophobic.
Be a winemaker or a viticulturist?
Ooh, that's tough because both of them have their passions. I'd probably say winemaker, though, because of the opportunity to create it and make it your own.
Is there anything else you want the audience to know about you?
Thank you. Thank you to everyone for the support of Tablas. Hopefully, everybody enjoys the wines that we have out in the marketplace. There's more to come.